Pimpri: The Water Resource Department has red-flagged the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation's (PCMC) plan of drawing more water from Andra and Bhama Askhed dams, on the grounds that the civic body is already drawing more water than approved quota from Pavana dam. The department said they cannot allow PCMC to draw more water from other dams and so it must use existing water judiciously.
Due to this development, there is uncertainty on execution of PCMC's plan. The Irrigation Department approved 392 million litres per day (MLD) water for the PCMC 20 years ago. In 2008 the project for a direct pipeline project was approved and permission for drawing 459 MLD water was given. But after the controversy due to police firing on agitating farmers in 2011, the PCMC continues to lift 490 MLD water from the river and 30 MLD water from MIDC water supply. It means the PCMC is lifting 128 MLD more water from Irrigation Department than approved quota.
As per new rates for water use declared by Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority the PCMC has to pay more for water drawn in excess of approved limit. The PCMC will have to pay Rs 36 lakh more per annum. It is also paying Rs 2.4 lakh per day to MIDC for 30 MLD water, which amounts to Rs 8.76 crore per year.
Excess water use
The population of PCMC area is 25 lakh including floating population. As per norms of MWPRA, 135 litres per day per person water use is approved for cities below 50 lakh population. Thus, the PCMC is entitled to draw 337 MLD water and the Irrigation Department has approved 392 MLD water. According to Irrigation Department, the population of Pimpri-Chinchwad will be 33 lakh in 2025, at that time the PCMC is entitled to get 512 MLD water. But the PCMC is drawing 520 MLD water now, which is in excess.
When contacted, Joint City Engineer of PCMC Ravindra Dudhekar said, "The Irrigation Department asked PCMC to use available water judiciously. The PCMC sent a fresh proposal to the State government for water allocation from Andra and Bhama Askhed dams as the deadline for drawing water from the dams has lapsed. The PCMC is also going to demand increase in norms of water use from 135 litres per capita/ per day to 150 per capita per day, considering the population of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as a single city."
Pravin Kolhe, Executive Engineer of Andra Irrigation Project said, "The PCMC has raised demand for water allocation from Pavana dam considering the future needs. It quoted estimated population of the city in 2041 but the population was not verified by the census department. If the PCMC wants water allocation for the city it must provide properly verified numbers."